Grace Bible Church of Chico

What We Teach

 


Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.   
2 Timothy 2:15 NASB

 

The Doctrinal Statement of

 

Grace Bible Church of Chico, California    

 

 
What We Teach

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

 

GOD

 

·          God the Father

·          God the Son

·          God the Holy Spirit

MAN

 

SALVATION

 

·          Regeneration

·          Election

·          Justification

·          Sanctification

·          Security

·          Separation

THE CHURCH

 

ANGELS

 

·          Holy Angels

·          Fallen Angels

 

LAST THINGS


WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN

·          God Is Sovereign Creator

·          God Is Holy

·          Mankind Is Sinful

·          Sin Demands a Penalty           

·          Jesus Is Lord and Savior                    

·          The Character of Saving Faith

 THE FIVE SOLAS






 THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
We teach that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and
thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute

the plenary (complete-full) (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God

(1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation

(1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), verbally

inspired in every word (2 Timothy 3:16), absolutely inerrant (free from error) (in the

original documents, infallible (incapable of error), and God-breathed. We teach the

literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which

affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation

in six literal days (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 31:17).

We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith

and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17;

1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter

1:20-21).

We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual

authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors

that, through their individual personalities and different styles of

writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2 Peter

1:20-21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matthew 5:18;

2 Timothy 3:16).

We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any

given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The

meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal

grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the

enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15;

1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers

to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture,

recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations.

Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men

stand in judgment of it.

 

GOD

We teach that there is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy

6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; 1 Corinthians 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing

Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence,

eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

(Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)—each equally deserving

worship and obedience.

 

God the Father.
We teach that God the Father, the first Person of

the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose

and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the

Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1-31; Ephesians 3:9). As the only

absolute and omnipotent Ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in

creation, providence, and redemption (Psalm 103:19; Romans

11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the

Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father

to all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is spiritual Father only to believers

(Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own

glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually

upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles

29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither the author nor approver of

sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47), nor does He abridge the

accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has

graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as

His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him

through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to

Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John

1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).

God the Son.
We teach that Jesus Christ, the second Person of the

Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is

coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30;

14:9).

We teach that God the Father created according to His own will,

through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence

and in operation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews

1:2).

We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered

only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine

essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally

existing second Person of the Trinity accepted all the essential

characteristics of humanity and so became the God-Man

(Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9).

We teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible

oneness (Micah 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9-10; Colossians 2:9).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isaiah 7:14;

Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John

1:1, 14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God,

redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 9:6;

John 1:29; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 7:25-26; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

We teach that, in the incarnation, the second Person of the Trinity

laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God

and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never

divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption

through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross

and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory,

and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 Peter

2:24).

We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord

Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the

penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that

he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the

family of God (Romans 3:25; 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Peter

2:24; 3:18).

We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical

 resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right

hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and

High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans

4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).

We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave,

God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has

accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection

is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all

believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10;

1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).

We teach that Jesus will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people to Himself. 1 Cor 15:52; Tit 2:13; Rev 1:7; Mat 24:30-31.

We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One through whom God

will judge all mankind (John 5:22-23):

Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return

(Matthew 25:31-46)

Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne

(Revelation 20:11-15)

As the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Head

of His Body the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and

the coming universal King, who will reign on the throne of David

(Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final Judge of all who fail to

place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46;

Acts 17:30-31).

 

God the Holy Spirit.
We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine

Person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality

and deity, including intellect (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), emotions

(Ephesians 4:30), will (1 Corinthians 12:11), eternality (Hebrews

9:14), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscience (Isaiah

40:13-14), omnipotence (Romans 15:13), and truthfulness (John

16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial

with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26;

1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Jeremiah 31:31-34 with

Hebrews 10:15-17).

We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine

will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity

in creation (Genesis 1:2), the incarnation (Matthew 1:18), the

written revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21), and the work of salvation

(John 3:5-7).

We teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at

Pentecost, when He came from the Father as promised by Christ

(John 14:16-17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the

Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The

broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of

sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus

Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ

(John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18;

Ephesians 2:22).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign

Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the Body of

Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells,

sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them

unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6;

Ephesians 1:13).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the

apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing

God’s revelation, the Bible (2 Peter 1:19-21). Every believer possesses

the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment

of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be

filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9;

Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).

We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the

church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by

ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing

His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the

most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11;

2 Corinthians 3:18).

We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in

the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today,

and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in

the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing

to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and

were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers

(1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians

4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).

 

MAN

We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in

His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational

nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral

responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9).

We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man

should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will

of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world

(Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).

We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will

and Word of God, man lost his innocence, incurred the penalty of

spiritual and physical death, became subject to the wrath of God,

and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or

doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace.

With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man

is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace

through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis

2:16-17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14;

Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 John 1:8).

We teach that, because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted

by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus

Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by

nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Psalm 14:1-3;

Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).

 

SALVATION

We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of

the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not

on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7;

2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

 

Regeneration.
We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of

the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given

(John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely

by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of

the Word of God (John 5:24) when the repentant sinner, as

enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision

of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of

repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct.

Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to

the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy

Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God

(Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter

1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed

to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at

Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).

 

Election.
We teach that election is the act of God by which, before

the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He

graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30;

Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter

1:1-2).

We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the

responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord

(Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23;

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since

sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation

as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God

determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in

faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John

6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).

We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally

depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part or

to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but

is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus

3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).

We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely

on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign, but He exercises

this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially

His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love

(Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of

God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed

in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy

1:9).

 

Justification.
We teach that justification before God is an act of

God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who,

through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38;

3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and

confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians

12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is

apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and

involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14;

1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us

(1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is

enabled to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in

Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

 

Sanctification.
We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart)

unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and

is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional

and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive

sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s

standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32;

1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11;

3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).

We teach that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a

progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is

brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys

through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and

the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life

of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming

more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans

6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23).

In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a

daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the

flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the

power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays

with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely

ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are

unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit

does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians

4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16;

1 John 3:5-9).

 

Security.
We teach that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by

God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24;

6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8;

Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).

We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance

of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word,

which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an

occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14;

Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).

 

Separation.
We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for

throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures

clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall

increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

We teach that, out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of

God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our

total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to

demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring

reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation

from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices is commanded

of us by God (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13;

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).

We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus

Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that

the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the

teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit

of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14;

Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).

 

THE CHURCH

We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately

placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the

church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13), the bride of Christ

(2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7-8), of

which Christ is the Head (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).

We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism

designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers.  
We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches

is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures

(Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Galatians 1:2; Philippians 1:1;

1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) and that the members of

the one spiritual Body are directed to associate themselves together

in local assemblies (1 Corinthians 11:18-20; Hebrews 10:25).

We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ

(1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18) and that

church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all

appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The

biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the

assembly are elders (also called bishops, pastors, and pastorteachers;

Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11) and deacons, both of whom

must meet biblical qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9;

1 Peter 5:1-5).

We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ

(1 Timothy 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the

church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Hebrews

13:7, 17).

We teach the importance of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20;

2 Timothy 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other

(Matthew 18:5-14), as well as the need for discipline of sinning

members of the congregation in accord with the standards of

Scripture (Matthew 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13;

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; Titus 1:10-16).

We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external

authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom

from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations

(Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to

cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of

the faith. Each local church, however, through its elders and their

interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judge

of the measure and method of its cooperation. The elders should

determine all other matters of membership, policy, discipline,

benevolence, and government as well (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28;

1 Corinthians 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).

We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God

(Ephesians 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Ephesians

4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16-17),

by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances

(Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating

the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; 2:42).

We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service

(1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:12; Revelation 22:12).

We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He

accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the

church spiritual gifts. He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping

the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:7-12), and

He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member

of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31;

1 Peter 4:10-11).

We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church:

miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily

in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity

of the apostles’ message (Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12); and

ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another.

With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture

becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and

confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to

validate a man or his message (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). Miraculous

gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even

believers (1 Corinthians 13:13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14). The

only gifts in operation today are those nonrevelatory equipping gifts

given for edification (Romans 12:6-8).

We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today, but that

God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in

accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and

afflicted (Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James

5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).

We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local

church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian

baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful

testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified,

buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin

and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-11). It is also a sign of

fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts

2:41-42).

We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation

of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded

by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). We also

teach that, whereas the elements of Communion are only representative

of the flesh and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s

Supper is nevertheless an actual communion with the risen Christ,

who indwells every believer, and so is present, fellowshipping with

His people (1 Corinthians 10:16).

 

ANGELS

 

Holy Angels.
We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore

not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation

than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him

(Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10;

22:9).

 

Fallen Angels.
We teach that Satan is a created angel and the

author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against

his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by taking numerous

angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14),

and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of

Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).

We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and

man (Isaiah 14:13-14; Matthew 4:1-11; Revelation 12:9-10); that

he is the prince of this world, who has been defeated through the

death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:20); and that he

shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17;

Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

 

LAST THINGS

 

THE STATE OF PEOPLE AFTER DEATH
AND THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD

1 After death the bodies of people return to dust and undergo decomposition,1 but their souls (which neither die nor sleep for they are immortal in essence) immediately return to God who gave them.2 The souls of the righteous are then made perfect in holiness, they are received into paradise where they are with Christ and look on the face of God in light and glory, and wait for the full redemption of their bodies.3 The souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved for judgment on the great day [of judgment].4 For souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledges no other place than these two.

(1) Gen 2:17; 3:19; Act 13:36; Rom 5:12-21; 1Co 15:22
(2) Gen 2:7; Jas 2:26; Mat 10:28; Ecc 12:7
(3) Psa 23:6; 1Ki 8:27-49; Isa 63:15; 66:1; Luk 23:43; Act 1:9-11; 3:21; 2Co 5:6-8;12:2-4; Eph 4:10; Phi 1:21-23; Heb 1:3; 4:14-15; 6:20; 8:1; 9:24; 12:23; Rev 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4-6
(4) Luk 16:22-26; Act 1:25; 1Pe 3:19; 2Pe 2:9

2 On the last day, those believers who are still alive will not die, but will be changed.1 All the dead will be raised up2 with their own bodies3 (although these will have different qualities)4 that will be united again to their souls for ever.5

(1) 1Co 15:50-53; 2Co 5:1-4; 1Th 4:17
(2) Dan 12:2; Joh 5:28-29; Act 24:15
(3) Job 19:26-27; Joh 5:28-29; 1Co 15:35-38,42-44
(4) 1Co 15:42-44,52-54
(5) Dan 12:2; Mat 25:46

3 By the power of Christ the bodies of the unrighteous will be raised to dishonour.1 By his Spirit2 the bodies of the righteous will be raised to honour,3 for they will be transformed to be like his own glorious body.4

(1) Dan 12:2, Joh 5:28-29
(2) Rom 8:1,11; 1Co 15:45; Gal 6:8
(3) 1Co 15:42-49
(4) Rom 8:17,29-30; 1Co 15:20-23,48-49; Phi 3:21; Col 1:18; 3:4; 1Jo 3:2; Rev 1:5

 
THE LAST JUDGMENT

1 God has appointed a day when he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom the Father has given all power and judgment.1 On that day, not only the apostate angels will be judged,2 but also all people who have lived on the earth. They will appear before Christ's judgment throne3 to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive [judgment] according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.4

(1) Joh 5:22,27; Act 17:31
(2) 1Co 6:3; Jude 1:6
(3) Mat 16:27; 25:31-46; Act 17:30-31; Rom 2:6-16; 2Th 1:5-10; 2Pe 3:1-13; Rev 20:11-15
(4) 2Co 5:10; 1Co 4:5; Mat 12:36

2 God's purpose in appointing this day is to show forth the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect, and his justice in the eternal damnation of the reprobate who are wicked and disobedient.1 Then the righteous will inherit eternal life and receive fullness of joy and glory with eternal reward in the presence of the Lord. But the wicked, who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, will be banished to eternal torment, and be punished with eternal destruction, shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.2

(1) Rom 9:22-23
(2) Mat 18:8; 25:41,46; 2Th 1:9; Heb 6:2; Jude 1:6; Rev 14:10-11; Luk 3:17; Mar 9:43,48; Mat 3:12; 5:26; 13:41-42; 24:51; 25:30

3 Christ wants us to be firmly persuaded that there will be a day of judgment, both to deter everyone from sin,1 and to give greater comfort to the godly in their adversity.2 But he has kept the date a secret, so that people may shake off all self-confidence and always be watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come.3 So they should always be prepared to say, 'Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!'4 Amen.

(1) 2Co 5:10-11
(2) 2Th 1:5-7
(3) Mar 13:35-37; Luk 12:35-40
(4) Rev 22:20

 

 

  
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN
Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular

religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian

means you have embraced what the Bible says about God,

mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in

Scripture.

 

God Is Sovereign Creator.
Contemporary thinking says man is the

product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a

personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him.

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created

everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns

and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority

over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and

 worship.

 

God Is Holy.
God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3),

therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God

requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be

holy, for I am holy.”

 

Mankind Is Sinful.
According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of

sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46).

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human

kindness. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or

pleasing God on our own. (Romans 3:10-12).

 

Sin Demands a Penalty.
God’s holiness and justice demand that all

sin be punished by death: (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s why simply changing

our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate

its consequences.

 

Jesus Is Lord and Savior.
The New Testament reveals it was Jesus

Himself who created everything (Colossians 1:16). Therefore He

owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has

authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience,

and worship. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your

mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him

from the dead, you shall be saved.” Even though God’s justice

demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the

penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied

the demands of God’s justice and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the

demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling

Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him

(Romans 3:26).

 

The Character of Saving Faith.
True faith is always accompanied

by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you

are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious

choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3,5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9) and pursue

Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3) and obedience to Him

(1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ.

Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19),

but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always

responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).









 

                                     The Five Solas of the Reformation



Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard

The doctrine that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority was the "Formal Principle" of the Reformation. In 1521 at the historic interrogation of Luther at the Diet of Worms, he declared his conscience to be captive to the Word of God saying, "Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons -- for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another -- I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God's Word." Similarly, the Belgic Confession stated, "We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein...Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God... Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule" (VII).

As the Scripture says,
Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law....I will bow down toward Thy holy temple, And give thanks to Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth; For Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name....You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; II Tim. 3:14-17)


Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone

The Reformation reclaimed the Scriptural teaching of the sovereignty of God over every aspect of the believer's life. All of life is to be lived to the glory of God. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, "What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." This great and all consuming purpose was emphasized by those in the 16th and 17th Centuries who sought to reform the church according to the Word of God. In contrast to the monastic division of life into sacred versus secular perpetuated by Roman Church, the reformers saw all of life to be lived under the Lordship of Christ. Every activity of the Christian is to be sanctified unto the glory of God.

As the Scripture says,
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God; Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (1CO 10:31; 1PE 4:11; REV 1:6; 2PE 3:1; EPH 3:21; REV 7:12; ROM 11:36)


Solo Christo! By Christ's Work Alone are We Saved

The Reformation called the church back to faith in Christ as the sole mediator between God and man. While the Roman church held that "there is a purgatory and that the souls there detained are helped by the intercessions of the faithful" and that "Saints are to be venerated and invoked;" "that their relics are to be venerated" -- the reformers taught that salvation was by Christ's work alone. As John Calvin said in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, "Christ stepped in, took the punishment upon himself and bore the judgment due to sinners. With his own blood he expiated the sins which made them enemies of God and thereby satisfied him...we look to Christ alone for divine favour and fatherly love!" Likewise the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 30 asks, "Do such then believe in Jesus the only Saviour who seek their salvation and happiness in saints, in themselves, or anywhere else? They do not; for though they boast of him in words yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Saviour: for one of these two things must be true that either Jesus is not a complete Saviour or that they who by a true faith receive this Saviour must find all things in him necessary to their salvation."

As the Scripture says,
There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time...For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. (1TI 2:5-6; COL 1:13-18)


Sola Gratia: Salvation by Grace Alone

A central cry of the Reformation was salvation by grace. Though the Roman church taught that Mass is a "sacrifice [which] is truly propitiatory" and that by the Mass "God...grant[s] us grace and the gift of penitence, remits our faults and even our enormous sins" -- the reformers returned to the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Our righteous standing before God is imputed to us by grace because of the work of Christ Jesus our Lord. In contrast to the doctrines of self-merit taught by Rome, sola gratia and the accompanying doctrines of grace -- total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, and perseverance of the saints -- were preached by all the reformers throughout the Protestant movement. As the Baptist Confession of 1689 says, "Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in their behalf;...their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners."

As the Scripture says,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. (Ephesians 1:3-8)


Sola Fide: Justification by Faith Alone

The "Material Principle" of the Reformation was justification by faith alone. As the Westminster Confession of Faith says, "Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love." The Genevan Confession likewise pointed out the necessity of those justified living by faith saying, "We confess that the entrance which we have to the great treasures and riches of the goodness of God that is vouchsafed us is by faith; inasmuch as, in certain confidence and assurance of heart, we believe in the promises of the gospel, and receive Jesus Christ as he is offered to us by the Father and described to us by the Word of God (Genevan 11).

As the Scripture says,
Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you." So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them." Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "The righteous man shall live by faith." (Galatians 3:6-11)

 

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